THEY are two of the best-known defendants in the Catalan independence trial – the two Jordis, Cuixart and Sanchez – and they can now bid to end their “preventative detention” at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

Both have exhausted all of Spain’s domestic legal options after the Constitutional Court dismissed their appeals – the first rulings from the court on pre-trial imprisonment without bail.

The unanimous ruling rejecting the appeals against Judge Carmen Lamela’s decision to jail them in October 2017 came as the pair yesterday notched up 500 days in prison.

Olivier Peter, from Cuixart’s defence team, told The National: “The defence will, in the coming days, when they have all the official communications, study which is the best way to defend the rights of Jordi Cuixart regarding the dismissal of the appeal for protection against the ruling of the National Court for them to enter provisional prison, in coordination with the international actions undertaken and the pace of the trial in progress.”

Marina Roig, another of his lawyers, said his rights had been violated, in particular the links between the events he is being tried for and freedom of expression and the rights to assembly and protest had not been taken into consideration.

Jordi Pina, who is leading Sànchez’s defence team, argued that Lamela’s decision violated his rights including his right to an impartial judge, the right to defence and the right to freedom.

Both men are on trial for rebellion after they led protests against Spanish police raids on Catalan government buildings on September 20, 2017 – 10 days before the indyref.

Another defendant, Carme Forcadell, former speaker of the Catalan Parliament, has already moved to take her appeal to the ECHR, despite the Constitutional Court not yet having issued a ruling. She argued that her “absolutely unjustified” imprisonment was an “exceptional case”. Her lawyers have asked the ECHR to classify it as an urgent case, which means it could be heard within six months.

Meanwhile, the Catalan government will for the first time find out what Spain thinks about Catalonia. Its polling organisation CEO will conduct a survey to gauge the “opinion and perception of the citizens of the state and not only of Catalonia”, on the north-eastern region’s political, economic and social situation.

It is expected to be carried out after the general election in April and the local and European polls in May.